Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Defacing Literature

Well, The Counterfeit is out. I had a big release party on Friday, and three booksignings on Saturday. I met a great many readers who were interested in buying the book, most of whom were either relatives or people who owed me favors. Had I been Robin Hood, and Morgan Freeman had sworn devoted allegiance to me for a lifedebt, he would have probably repaid it via buying a copy of my book. (Well, he’d buy a copy of my previous book, because it’s on sale. You know how he is.)

Following the sagely advice of Mr. Jeff Savage, I’ve tried to stretch myself a little more at booksignings, going from the sitting-behind-the-table approach to a more outgoing, accost-the-public method. Recently Jeff posted some rules for booksignings, which I can’t remember and can’t be bothered to look up, but here’s what I think they are:

1) Have a good, solid name that implies violence (like Savage). I changed mine to Robison Howitzer.

2) Be Betsy Brannon Green. Because seriously, she’s all anyone wanted to talk about. “My book is a conspiracy suspense thriller,” I’d say, and they’d reply “Really? So are Betsy Brannon Greens’, but hers include casserole recipes. Do your books include casserole recipes, Robison Howitzer?”

Really, that’s all I can think of. Here’s one interesting thing I noticed, though. (It will soon be the subject of my doctoral dissertation on social psychology.) If someone is talking to you about your books, then other people will come up and listen. If no one is talking to about your books, then everyone else will avoid you like the plague. My theory? If I’m not talking to anyone, then people will assume I’m an unpopular loser who writes crappy books. And they’d be right. But if I’m talking to other people, then perhaps my books don’t make me worthy of the blackball quite yet. My solution? Hire groupies to hang around and talk about the books. If you’d like to apply, send your resume and a ten-dollar processing fee to Robison Wells, Inc.

The highlights of the signings:

1) The manager at the Taylorsville Seagull Book is named Randi. Her husband is named Dallas, and her new kid is named London. You see, they had a bit of a name-the-kids-after-cities theme going on. Consequently, I’ve decided to call her Randolph. I spent the entire hour I was supposed to be signing books coming up with funny kid names. For example: Panguitch. Also, a set of twin boys, Murray and Roy.

2) Susie, who works at the Redwood store, recently returned from a mission in scenic Lubbock Texas. I knew her from back when I was signing my first book at that store. The moral: in the last 18 months, she baptized, like, seven hundred people and I baptized no one. Seriously, I suck.

3) I only had fifteen minutes to get from the Redwood Road store to the West Jordan store, and I was quite late. I drove really really fast, but it didn’t help. Fortunately, the general public seemed to think that the West Jordan store had gone out of business, or something. Perhaps they’d seen the sign that I was there, and decided to shop another day.

4) “Best wishes and happy reading.” Seriously, I’ve been signing books for two and a half years now, and that’s the best I can come up with. What if someone wants to buy all three books? Do I write the same inscription in each? Do I think up something clever off the cuff? Do I come up with some crappy pun? “Dear Kerry-- I’ll tell you one thing that isn’t Counterfeit: this book is so spine-tingling and intense that no one will have to Wake You When It’s Over! (On Second Thought, bring a pillow just in case…) Many happy regards, Robison Howitzer.”


At 7/11/2006 12:36 PM, Blogger KB said...

Somwhere, I think it was on this blog but I may be mistaken, I promised I would run out and get your book the day it came out. Well, I didn't run...and it'sthe 11th...but I did buy your book. Looking forward to reading it.

At 7/11/2006 1:18 PM, Blogger Matthew Buckley said...

I feel your pain with the book signings. I take the patented Matthew Buckley approach which is to either a) cry softly in the corner in hopes that people will feel sorry for me and at least make eye-contact; or b) fake an injury. A little fake blood goes a long way to get customers to your table.

MB: "Ahhhh! I'm bleeding from my ears!"

CUSTOMER: (Rushing over) "Oh my goodness, is there anything I can do to help."

MB: "Actually, I'm feeling much better. Do you know anything about chickens and their armpits? Because I happen to have a book on the subject. And I still have some without any blood on them."

At 7/11/2006 2:50 PM, Blogger FHL said...

Hey, I'm planning on getting both books and having you sign them on Saturday @ Seagull. Feel free to sign them Robison Howitzer! or perhaps, the Unknown Patriot...

I just read On Second Thought a couple of weeks ago, and I absolutely loved it! If I were going to write a book in the first person, I'd probably end up sounding like Walt. I doubt I could pull it off as well as you did, though.

BTW, the book signings link on your homepage isn't working; I had to find the schedule via your blog.

At 7/11/2006 3:05 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

FHL! My old nemesis!

Yeah, I know the link isn't working. I'm having ftp troubles as of late. Also: lazy.

I look forward to meeting you. I have been talking to you for months, under one guise or another...

At 7/11/2006 3:35 PM, Anonymous Jennie Hansen said...

I got your book yesterday. I'm really anxious to read it. Unfortunately it is number eight in my stack. I could skip numbers two and four; they don't look very interesting anyway. Darn! Why did I make up a silly rule about reading them in the order I get them?

At 7/11/2006 4:11 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Jennie, I know that you're trying to be polite to all the other authors, but you can tell me the truth: as soon as you got my book you threw away all the others.

At 7/12/2006 10:30 AM, Blogger Bryan Hickman said...

Dearest Robison:

Your book is unavailable in DC. Also, I don't believe in the internet (not "don't believe in" as in I have a moral objection, but as in I don't think it actually exists). Therefore, I don't believe I'll be reading your new book anytime soon. Plus...I hate you.

At 7/12/2006 10:38 AM, Blogger Candace E. Salima said...

Bryan Hickman,

I hope that your comment was written in a facetious manner. If not, Robison is a wonderful man, humorous writer and really, what is the purpose of hate mail?

At 7/12/2006 10:52 AM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Mr. Hickman actually happens to be a former mission companion of mine. He's also unmarried, ugly, and the cause of many of society's ills.

While we're on the subject, though, I got my first honest-to-goodness hate mail the other day. It was from a reader who seemed to think my books were leading to the moral degradation of America. It was pretty dang rad.

At 7/12/2006 7:03 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

You're leading the moral degradation of America now, Robison? I must say I'm surprised. I'd have thought Satan would appoint somebody with more of a clue and less of a sense of humor. Go figure. (But if you ever want to compare bizarre "fan" letters I have a couple that would mind. Now that I think about it, nothing I have beats the one you just described. Sheesh.)

As for book signings, I just wait for people to walk by carrying one of Betsy's or Jennie's books and then I say, "I know her." They almost always stop at my table. They don't buy anything, of course, because they already have Double Cross or Wild Card in their hands, but, hey, I don't look quite as pathetic!

At 7/12/2006 7:35 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

I can hardly wait for my own hate fan mail. You guys can send it now if you want! I'm sure I deserve some. ;)

And you can be Robison Howitzer if I get to be Sariah HeartsnFlowers.


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